Oklahoma health leaders say COVID-19 cases are down, but that could change

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The snow is finally starting to melt and COVID-19 cases are on the downward trend in Oklahoma, but state health leaders are concerned things may change as temps start to warm up.

“No question about it, it has slowed down distribution over the past week,” said Dr. Dale Bratzler, OU Health Enterprise Chief Quality Officer.

This week’s negative temps are impacting Oklahoma’s COVID-19 distribution…

On top of that, OU’s Chief COVID Officer Dr. Dale Bratzler says testing is way down.

“One area that I am a bit concerned about is the number of tests being done in the state has dropped very substantially,” Bratzler said. “Through yesterday, the state only reported 40,000 covid tests this past week.”

On February 22, Oklahomans over the age of 16 with comorbidities, as well as Pre-K through 12th grade teachers will be eligible to get the vaccine. This group alone holds over a million people.

“Both the state’s and the city county health departments are going to be increasing the number of clinics that they have in the near future,” Bratzler said. “A lot more vaccine will be coming into the state soon. So, I think we’ll be seeing a lot more opportunities to get vaccinated. Be patient. It’s coming.”

And with higher temps in the forecast, people may be tempted to finally get out and see friends, family and loved ones. But Bratzler is warning of another concern.

“There have been a number of studies now showing that there are a lot of strains of the Covid-19 virus that are going across the United States,” Bratzler said. “Some people are calling these the U.S. variants.”

With the possibility of mutations spreading, Bratzler says right now it’s a fast-paced race to get people vaccinated. 

“We’re in a race against mutations versus getting vaccines into the arms of people who need the vaccines. The more vaccine we get into people’s arms, the slower the virus will spread, the fewer mutations will happen,” Bratzler said.

Earlier this week the Oklahoma State Department of Health said teachers and Oklahomans with comorbidities will have their eligibility turned on the portal on Sunday. The system will be sending out emails to go in and register for an appointment.

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